The Huntington Beach, CA City Council has decided to postpone a vote that would potentially ban the use polystyrene foam products within the town’s city limits. Polystyrene foam is commonly referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, and makes up many forms of single-use foodservice items, such as take-out containers and hot beverage cups. Huntington Council members made the decision to postpone the vote on the foam ban to allow time for consideration of what a ban on these products would mean to local small businesses.
The notion to ban foam items within Huntington Beach was originally presented by a group of students in October of this year; however, the presentation did not address the outlying effects that would develop from a decision of this nature. As told by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), “A ban on Styrofoam® has unintended consequences that overlook the economic, natural resource, and fundamental repercussions to Californians. Simply put, this ban would limit consumer choice, negatively impact our local businesses, and does not properly address the true issue at hand.”
Banning foam would mean that local restaurants and small businesses would be forced to switch to higher-priced alternative foodservice items; a cost that would ultimately be passed along to consumers and residents. Furthermore, Huntington Beach already has an initiative in place to collect foam waste and recycle it responsibly. The city has installed a curbside recycling program that allows residents to simply place their discarded foam cups and take-out containers on their curb to be collected and disposed of responsibly. Assemblyman Allen echoes this fact by stating, “Our focus should be on making it as user friendly and convenient as possible for people to utilize our recycling programs that are already in place. That is why I support the recycling programs that the City of Huntington Beach has embraced, for example the curbside recycling for foam cups, takeout containers, and packaging.”
Additional efforts to support the active curbside foam recycling program would eliminate any reason to ban foam products. Dart Container Corporation, a Michigan-based manufacturer of foam items, works with several cities and organizations implementing successful foam recycling programs. In fact, Dart’s foam recycling process typically develops new economic opportunities by taking discarded foam waste, processing and recycling it, and then selling the material back to manufactures that in turn use the mass in the production of new consumer products, such as architectural molding and picture frames.
Source: OC Weekly